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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Democratic Elections??

Nigerian Democratic elections are going to happen here in April. After doing some research on elections in Nigeria, I learned some interesting things. Right now, there is controversy over whether a northern Nigerian or a southern Nigerian should be president. Traditionally, there has been a "gentleman's agreement" to rotate the office between people from different regions of Nigeria. Last year when Umaru Yar'Adua was declared dead after months of speculation that he was dead (see the post titled "Finally!") the vice president , Goodluck Jonathan ( Yes, his name really is Goodluck!!), took over as president for the interim until the elections happen this year. Yar'Adua was a northerner and a Muslim and Goodluck Jonathan is a southerner and a Christian. That being said, Goodluck Jonathan's decision to run for election as president has caused controversy here in Nigeria. There are those who believe that it is time for a Northerner Muslim to become president since Goodluck has had his time. Goodluck wants to run to actually have his own election instead of only being appointed as president because the original president died. I ask you, is it "democratic" to not want certain people in a country to run because of where they are from? To me, it doesn't make sense, but to many people here, they won't vote for Goodluck because he is not a Muslim and he is not from the north...

Just a few quick facts about Nigeria:

1) Nigeria is the most populated country in all of Africa

2) It has 36 states and one territory

3) English is the official language with over 400 tribal dialects spoken

4) There are 63 registered political parties in Nigeria

5) Nigeria is a Federal Republic "modeled" from the U.S. A presidential term is 4 years and a person can only have a maximum of two terms.

6) Nigeria was officially out of military rule and in democratic rule in 1999. ( So, the democratic election process is still in its early stages here.)

I am sure there are more candidates than the ones I am listing who are running...but these are the names I was able to track down today:

1) Goodluck Jonathan ( People's Democratic Party) ( southern/ Christian)

2) Muhammadu Buhari ( Congress for Progressive Change Party) ( northern /Muslim) He was actually president in 1983 when the government was military rule, but he was overthrown in a coup in 1985...I guess he is back for more???!!!!

3) Nunu Ribadu ( Action Congress of Nigeria) and Anti Corruption Campaigner. I didn't know there was anything to do with anti corruption anywhere here!!!?? ( northerner/ Muslim)

4) Patrick Utomi ( social democratic mega Party) ( Southern/ Christian)

5) Atiku Abubakar ( Northern political leader's forum) He was a former Vice President

6) Pastor Tunde Barkare (Save Nigeria Group) ( Southern/ Christian)

7) Pastor Chris Okeite ( House of Fresh) ( Southern/ Christian)

Everyone will have to stay tuned for the election outcome. During the month of April, elections will be held on three separate Saturdays:

April 2: The National Assembly Election

April 9: The Presidential election

April 16: Governor and State Assembly elections.

On those Saturdays, no one is allowed out on the roads....the only people who can go out are those who are in the zones to vote at assigned times. ( I guess I should gear myself to be held up in the flat!) Some of you may ask, "Why don't they just have the election for everything in one day?" I have to ask that too!!! As much as Nigeria is growing on me, I just don't understand some of the waholla it creates for itself.:) I just hope the elections are peaceful with no big waholla in the streets during that time...

I thought I would show you some of the political signs which are up everywhere throughout Lagos...
This is one of a presidential candidate, Nuhu Ribadu.
The picture above is advertising for the current governor of Lagos State.
More pictures of Fashola ( current governor of Lagos State).
I guess someone doesn't like him!!:)
Let's just hope that whoever the next president may be will help the people of Nigeria help themselves and try to end some of the corruption here... Let's also hope that the elections in April are truly democratic.

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